I have a habit of finishing a movie and then, spending the next few days imagining the life of the characters post the end of the movie’s storyline – their conversations, the events in their life, their day-to-day life in general. Even for a movie that provides closure to the viewers, this mental reel of ongoing life of the characters gives me more closure.

I sometimes tend to do this with real life incidents as well, like news pieces, where I imagine how the people from the news piece are doing after the news has faded from the front page. In fact, I often think about how when a case is closed or an anxiety-inducing news has come to a closure with a ‘good news,’ we all feel happy for a while with the happy outcome and move on to the next case or news. But is that how it is for those who were a part of the whole thing? Never.

Last week I was following two different incidents of prime importance – the abduction of a 6-year-old girl from Kerala, and the rescue mission to free 41 workers who were trapped inside a tunnel under construction in Uttarkashi. Both the stories had a happy ending, with the little girl being found abandoned and unhurt after 21 hours, and all the workers being freed after 17 days! The abduction case moved on to finding the culprits and the reasons behind the abduction, but by the end of the second day, the girl and her family faded from the front page, thanks to their happy reunion, that marked the end of that part of the story. And with the heroes’ welcome given to the trapped workers upon their rescue, their medical results that were surprisingly all good, and their meeting with the PM and some other leaders, that story came to an end too.

But here I am, thinking of the impact of this trauma on the victims and their families not for a few days, but for a lifetime. I keep wondering how long it would take for the little girl to walk out on the road without worrying about getting dragged into a car by some strangers, or get into a car without wanting to somehow get the hell out of there. I wonder if she will ever be able to let go of her parents’ hands, and if her parents, and especially her brother who was dragged along with the car and pushed out as the kidnappers took his little sister away, would ever be able to let her out of their sight. I wonder if the workers who were freed from the tunnel, would ever get over the terrible claustrophobia that must have grappled them, no matter how spacious it was inside the trapped area. I wonder if they will ever be able to get back to work, with utmost certainty that they will be safe at the end of the day.

It would take a lot of, and I do mean lots and lots of proper, professional help and therapy for all these people, the workers, the little girl and the families to cope with this trauma and the scars that they have left in their minds. But that, we all know, is not something that is normalized in our society and I doubt that it will ever happen. The only hope is that time might heal these scars a little, and they slowly take baby steps back to normalcy someday, even if it takes years. Until then, the good news that definitely is great news, is also start of a huge battle for those involved. Let’s not forget that. Let’s all keep them in our prayers always.

Also published on Medium.